Wednesday Shorts 05-13-2009

Perfoliate Bellwort ~ Grindstone Campground Nature Trail
Perfoliate Bellwort ~ Grindstone Campground Nature Trail

❊ The whippoorwill has taken up a morning station just outside the door by the branch. At that range standing in the dark with the door open you can hear an additional leading cluck not audible from a distance or with the doors and windows closed. Our out of town company not accustomed to our early morning hours or the bird’s may not be so happy to hear the broken-record perseveration well before dawn: it will not be music to their ears.

❊ If it’s not too hot for me inside over the next few days, it won’t be warm enough for my mother, arriving later today from ‘bama where it’s been summer for a couple of months already. So I have a wood-scraps fire in the stove (honestly, it feels pretty good as we’ve had temps in the upper 30s the past few nights). We have the ANNex french doors open as that is where mom will be staying–the coolest room in the house, earth sheltered and with the tile floor.

❊ Speaking of the ANNex: it is since yesterday outfitted with some of Mac’s Custom Cabinets–bookshelves up top, 36″ standing work surface for things like sorting and packing notecards, and deep-shelf cabinets underneath for storage. We bartered for a bit of a discount for the web work and photography I’ve done for Mac and Jenny over the past couple of years. More soon about Mac Traynham’s latest newly-released CD (for which I swapped him a book!) and a picture of the shelves before I trash them with what my wife kindly refers to as “my junk.”

❊ My thanks to the Floyd Women’s Club for inviting me to present my “Visual Essay” last night for the first time since Earth Day 2008. It was well received, making me think I need to do more like that, and quite a few of the ladies did what YOU should do: purchase What We Hold In Our Hands: a Slow Road Reader for Father’s Day–yours, your spouse’s, and three more (your son who is now a father, an uncle who has been like a father to you and the childless neighbor gentlemen who would have been getting this book from his kids if he’d ever had any.) I’ll look for your order form forthwith!

❊ Image: perfoliate bellwort. Per: thru AND foliate: the leaf. Note how the “stem” pierces the blade tissue of the leaf rather than being attached at the edge as is more common.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. sing whippoorwill sing!!
    I love the whipporrwill and it’s song
    I go out each morning at 6am to get the newspaper from the driveway….the trees are full of singing birds…..all sorts of birds…..each singing loud……’s like a choir..what a blessing to hear!!!!
    I always have plenty of water and food out for my bird friends….of course, the rabbits, chipmunks, and squirrels enjoy also..
    love the flower photo…very interesting…stem pierces blade tissue of leaf….

    take care